How to solve cricket's ball-tampering problem?

What next for cricket following the ...

Posted: Mar 30, 2018 5:20 PM
Updated: Mar 30, 2018 5:20 PM

What next for cricket following the ball-tampering scandal which has led to lengthy bans for Australian trio Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft and rocked the sport?

Clearly the sport's governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), needs to take a stronger lead and ensure punishment for players, captains and teams are suitably strong.

Ball-tampering scandal has rocked Australian cricket

Smith, Warner, Bancroft given lengthy bans

Lehmann to quit as Australia coach

The game's culture at the top level needs to be highly competitive, but it also needs to be played with integrity.

Harsh, but fair, penalties for transgressors are needed.

Financial penalties rarely work when people are highly paid but, for instance, by taking players out of a series for ball tampering, or sending them off during a match, the player and the national team's captain is punished.

Such punishments would probably lead to a defeat and the offending individual would become a national disgrace.

If players are a risk, in terms of being sent off, then selectors would think twice about whether or not they are worth selecting. If a captain were to be suspended for a player's transgression too then that would also crank up his role as a leader.

Surely that would ensure players behave 'properly' all of the time?

READ: Lehmann to step down after scandal

READ: 'I'll regret this' - Steve Smith

'Make the game fairer'

Another change which could be made is to allow ball tampering -- as long as an 'outside agent,' such as sandpaper or a bottle top, which have both been used in the past -- are not permitted.

READ: Trio's cheating harms national psyche

READ: 'These guys are broken, they know they've done wrong'

But the real key to improving the game is to ensure a fairer balance between bat and ball.

Reverse swing -- which is essentially what Australia were trying to get the ball to do by attempting to rough up one side -- is a necessary part of a bowler's armory and makes the game more entertaining.

It takes a high level of skill to use reverse swing effectively and we want to see the best players in the world at the height of their profession.

In recent years, the game has been tilted too much in favor of the batsmen.

Bats are bigger, boundaries are smaller, pitches are flat to ensure Test matches go into a fifth day and so maximizing revenue.

But one of the best Tests recently, South Africa against India at the Wanderers Stadium, which India won by 63 runs, was gripping because of the 'spicy' pitch.

The best players still played well -- the liveliness of the surface sorted out 'the men from the boys.'

The game needs to help the bowlers more because the imbalance between bat and ball is one reason why bowlers and fielders have felt the need to alter the condition of the ball in an underhand way.

Sledging as bullying

Another subject which needs addressing is the sport's culture.

Fundamentally, the culture of Australian cricket over the last three years has diminished and there's no question that their behavior on the field has not been of a good enough standard.

Australia's former captain Steve Waugh famously called sledging 'mental disintegration' -- it's a form of bullying.

If it's done in the right way I don't have a problem with it because I think it adds to the competitive nature of the sport, but what I have a problem with is when it's a premeditated form of bullying, where you personally attack someone verbally. That must be outlawed.

READ: Why is ball tampering such a big deal

The best of Australia's cricketing culture is best exemplified by the late, great Keith Miller, widely regarded as Australia's greatest all-rounder.

Miller, who played 55 Tests, was a close friend of my late grandfather Denis Compton, one of England's greatest batsmen.

Miller had perspective -- he had fought in the Second World War as a fighter pilot for the Royal Australian Air Force.

He said this about playing Test cricket: "Pressure doesn't exist when playing Test cricket - pressure is having a Messerschmidt up your arse!"

Though Compton and Miller were fierce opponents, they were also the best of friends come close of play and remained so after they had retired.

They embodied the true spirit of cricket, and I would urge all international cricketers to reflect on their wonderful example and regard that as the way forward.

What now for Australia?

Tim Paine will captain Australia in the fourth Test following Smith's 12-month ban and it's a tough assignment but, from what I know, he seems to be a well-rounded individual. He is a fine cricketer, too.

This Test, which is already under way at the Wanderers Stadium, may represent a bit of an audition for Paine as Smith's long-term successor -- but there is a better candidate.

I'd choose George Bailey of Tasmania. The 35-year-old has recently played for English counties Middlesex and Hampshire and has, in the past, captained Australia's Twenty20 side and one-day international team.

Bailey is a balanced and wise person who is totally committed to the concept of the team.

He could provide the quality of leadership needed to help Australia move through this crisis and, over the next 18 months, help rebuild the team and its commitment to a values-based culture.

Justin Langer would be an excellent choice to replace Darren Lehmann as head coach, too.

Langer was part of the great Australian teams of the 1990s, representing Australia in over 100 Tests. He also helped turn around the culture at Somerset County Cricket Club during his playing days.

Since retiring as a player, the former batsman has carved out a successful coaching career with Western Australia and also enjoyed success with the Perth Scorchers.

He is a quality individual.

'No crime has been committed'

Time will tell if Cricket Australia have got the balance right between punishing the players and protecting their wellbeing.

In terms of what's happened in the immediacy of this aftermath, they've had to make a tough stand. To ban Smith and Warner for a year and Bancroft for nine months is right, even if, in some ways, it seems a bit harsh.

A mistake's a mistake. There was a premeditated nature to it, they've been made examples of -- and so they should -- but let's keep it in perspective.

It's like they've killed people. These guys are not criminals.

The important thing is that we remember these people are human beings.

They made a mistake, a bad mistake -- but we need to make sure that we consider them as people so that when they come back in a year's time they are reformed characters, they have a new lease of life in terms of their perspective on the game and they return to the international game as more mature sportsmen who will uphold the integrity of this great game.

Visit cnn.com/sport for more news and videos

Both Smith and Warner are world-class cricketers and the game doesn't want to lose its world-class players.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34574

Reported Deaths: 2134
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9853578
Lake3616190
Allen161869
Cass15877
Elkhart132228
St. Joseph127434
Hendricks116971
Hamilton115993
Johnson1105108
Madison58659
Porter53928
Bartholomew51135
Clark50441
LaPorte43323
Howard40828
Tippecanoe4023
Jackson3891
Delaware38537
Shelby37322
Hancock33827
Floyd31839
Boone31535
Morgan27724
Vanderburgh2742
Montgomery24117
White2358
Noble23221
Clinton2321
Decatur22431
Grant21122
Dubois1993
Harrison19422
Henry18211
Greene16924
Vigo1698
Dearborn16821
Monroe16612
Warrick16628
Lawrence16324
Miami1401
Putnam1377
Kosciusko1351
Jennings1304
Orange12822
Scott1203
Franklin1108
Ripley1096
Marshall1082
Carroll932
Daviess8816
Steuben832
Wayne825
LaGrange812
Wabash782
Newton7810
Fayette777
Jasper671
Washington521
Jay520
Clay511
Fulton491
Rush472
Randolph473
Pulaski460
Jefferson451
Whitley423
Starke393
DeKalb371
Sullivan361
Owen351
Brown331
Perry330
Wells320
Benton300
Huntington282
Knox280
Tipton251
Blackford252
Crawford240
Fountain212
Switzerland200
Spencer201
Parke180
Gibson172
Posey160
Adams151
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin110
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0167

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35513

Reported Deaths: 2155
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5862262
Cuyahoga4444226
Hamilton2672150
Marion266628
Lucas2267242
Pickaway207437
Mahoning1431174
Summit1420173
Butler89329
Columbiana79353
Stark72791
Lorain68759
Montgomery66316
Trumbull57348
Belmont42912
Warren37321
Miami35730
Tuscarawas3434
Ashtabula33934
Medina33722
Delaware33713
Portage32557
Lake30812
Wood29446
Clark2856
Geauga28432
Wayne27450
Fairfield2676
Licking24810
Allen21232
Mercer2117
Clermont2115
Richland2003
Erie17214
Darke17021
Madison1567
Washington11819
Crawford1144
Morrow1071
Greene1015
Ottawa9916
Putnam9214
Sandusky7911
Monroe7812
Auglaize733
Ross712
Hocking694
Jefferson672
Hardin610
Huron581
Williams551
Union521
Muskingum520
Hancock501
Clinton431
Shelby433
Wyandot412
Fulton410
Fayette400
Coshocton400
Logan390
Holmes391
Preble371
Guernsey351
Defiance342
Carroll313
Lawrence300
Brown291
Champaign281
Highland251
Knox251
Vinton212
Seneca202
Ashland200
Athens181
Perry181
Scioto160
Henry150
Paulding140
Jackson140
Adams101
Harrison100
Gallia81
Van Wert60
Pike60
Meigs60
Noble60
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 66°
Angola
Few Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 66°
Huntington
Scattered Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 69°
Decatur
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 66°
Van Wert
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 66°
Sun Continues Monday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events